Queensrÿche’s Michael Wilton And Eddie Jackson Respond To Scott Rockenfield’s Lawsuit

Queensrÿche guitarist Michael Wilton and bassist Eddie Jackson have officially responded to Scott Rockenfield’s lawsuit, claiming that the drummer abandoned the group. This news after Rockenfield previously accused Wilton and Jackson of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, wrongful discharge and more.

According to Blabbermouth, Wilton and Jackson said the following in a document that was filed to voice their “answers, affirmative defenses and counterclaims”:

“QUEENSRŸCHE was in the middle of a tour and was contractually obligated to play a number of live concerts, including an upcoming April 1, 2017 concert in California, to be followed by several concerts in the U.S. scheduled for April and May, and that QUEENSRŸCHE, including Rockenfield, had agreed and were scheduled in June 2017 to play 13 live shows at different venues across Europe. Rockenfield’s sudden departure required Jackson and Wilton to locate and hire a drummer so that the band could comply with their contractual touring obligations. [Rockenfield] made no effort to assist the band in finding a substitute drummer for the remaining concert dates on the QUEENSRŸCHE tour.”

They also claimed that the band and their manager tried to contact Rockenfield “near the end of 2017” to discuss their new album:

“Rockenfield only sporadically responded to band members and band management about participating in the recording the new album. On those occasions when Rockenfield did respond to members of QUEENSRŸCHE or band management, he obfuscated and refused to commit or agree to rejoin the band or to participate in the process of recording the new album.”

“QUEENSRŸCHE had to have a declaration from Rockenfield as to whether or not he intended to participate in recording on the band’s album. Rockenfield was informed by QUEENSRŸCHE management that due to his continued obfuscation, that his failure respond with anything other than a commitment to rejoin the band for their album, would necessarily be deemed a ‘no.’ Rockenfield subsequently acquiesced to QUEENSRŸCHE hiring another drummer to take Rockenfield’s place.”

Wilton and Jackson also accused Rockenfield of not generating income to pay off a loan that was taken out for a settlement between the band and ex-singer Geoff Tate:

“When QUEENSRŸCHE had negotiated their financial settlement with Tate in 2014, QUEENSRŸCHE’s then attorney recommended and arranged for Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield to secure a loan from a particular third party lender, the proceeds of which would to be used to pay Tate a lump sum of the entire amount of the agreed upon settlement. Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield signed the loan agreement as individuals doing business as QUEENSRŸCHE. Under the Agreement, Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield were jointly and severally liable to the Lender for repayment of the loan. The Lender required the band members to pledge real property as security for the loan. Wilton and Jackson pledged real property that each individually owned. As additional security Wilton and Jackson were required to pledge specific valuable and irreplaceable personal property they had accumulated during their three decades of playing and performing in rock and roll music all over the world. Rockenfield did not own any real property. Rockenfield was only required to pledge some computer equipment he had used for recording his side project, Hollywood Loops. With the rapid advancement of computer technology, any value of the computer equipment Rockenfield pledged, quickly diminished.”

The document went on to say that Jackson, Wilton and Rockenfield were required to make regular monthly payments for the loan, adding:

“The loan prohibited Wilton, Jackson and Rockenfield from selling or otherwise disposing of personal property pledged as security for the loan, and provided that, if any of the property pledged as security was disposed of prior to the loan having been paid in full, the loan would come immediately due. Prior to the loan being paid in full, Rockenfield sold or otherwise disposed of the property he’d pledged as security for the loan.”

“The revenue generated through QUEENSRŸCHE concerts was the primary income source that allowed QUEENSRŸCHE band members to stay current on Tate loan. Since Rockenfield left the band in Spring 2017, Rockenfield has not generated any income for use to pay off the loan used to pay Tate. Since Rockenfield left the band in 2017, he has not contributed any money to pay off the Tate loan. Rockenfield’s failure to generate any income for the band after leaving in 2017, resulted in the other obligors, Jackson and Wilton, shouldering the entire responsibility to pay off the Tate loan, including Rockenfield’s portion, and, Rockenfield’s actions put Jackson and Wilton at risk of default and loss of their own property.”

Wilton and Jackson also claimed the following:

“[Rockenfield was] intentionally and wrongfully withdrawing $10,000.00 in cash from QUEENSRŸCHE without permission and for his own personal use, intentionally and wrongfully charging personal expenses to his QUEENSRŸCHE company credit card and removing video-wall panels without notice or permission from the band’s storage facility.”

Wilton and Jackson also discussed dismissing Rockenfield:

“[We] provided Rockenfield with 10 days written notice of a shareholder/board meeting of the QR Companies, with a notice of the date, time and location of that meeting place, and an advisement that the subject matter of the meetings was the dismissal of Rockenfield from the QUEENSRŸCHE companies. On October 11, 2018, the day before the scheduled meeting, Rockenfield sent Jackson and Wilton a text message confirming he’d received notice of the meeting. Rockenfield requested that he be allowed to attend the meeting telephonically. Historically, telephonic attendance of meetings of the QR Companies was a commonplace practice for members of QR Companies. Wilton notified Rockenfield he could attend the meeting telephonically. Rockenfield received a text that confirmed the meeting location and included confirmation of the meeting time and the phone number that allowed Rockenfield to call in and participate telephonically in the meeting. On October 12, 2018, at the time scheduled for the meeting, Rockenfield failed to appear and failed to call in telephonically. After waiting for in excess of an hour without Rockenfield either appearing in person or calling to appear telephonically, and, the remaining members constituting a quorum, Rockenfield was formally voted out of the QR companies.”

“Rockenfield’s initial indication that he would participate, at least telephonically, in the October 12, 2018 meeting, only to fail to make any effort to do so, along with his to failure to notify either Jackson or Wilton that he was not going to participate, was consistent with the behavior Rockenfield had shown the band and in matters of QUEENSRŸCHE business for most of the previous year and a half.”

Wilton and Jackson also commented on Rockenfield’s decision to launch his own Queensrÿche site:

“Rockenfield followed his on-line posting with statements on social media that he was ‘ready to rock,’ inviting fans to join his site by providing him with their names and email contacts.”

“Without permission or approval from QUEENSRŸCHE or its label, Rockenfield [also] posted an out-take of a version of an old song QUEENSRŸCHE had decided not to use in a prior album.”

“Rockenfield actually had no new QUEENSRŸCHE music to release and his on-line posts served only to confuse fans and damage the QUEENSRŸCHE brand.”

Wilton and Jackson currently want to have Rockenfield’s claims dismissed with prejudice and to have it noted that he abandoned the band. They are also seeking “general, special, and statutory damages and equitable remedies.”

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